The kind of mistakes you make define you. The more interesting the mistakes, the more interesting the life. If your biggest mistakes are missing reruns of tv-shows or buying the wrong lottery ticket you’re not challenging yourself enough to earn more interesting mistakes.

This morning I spent several hours in Starbucks reading Scott Berkun’s essays and part of his book “Making Things Happen.” Last semester was a wonderful source of mistakes (and plenty of dishwashing) and now I’m looking forward to making more interesting mistakes in 2011. In addition to essay #44 (“How to learn from mistakes”), I found something thought-provoking in nearly all the ones I read. Here are some selected snippets:

  • #60: How to be a free-thinker: You’re often wrong. Spend time with people with conflicting world-views. Spend time alone.
  • #57: How to be a genius: Come from a dysfunctional family and be a workaholic with emotional issues. You probably won’t be famous in your lifetime. Not recommended.
  • #55: How to stay motivated: Be angry, do grunt work, put yourself in situations without an escape, prove people wrong, think about death, have fun, have crazy friends, have discipline.
  • #51: Attention and sex: “Instead of splitting your mind to keep busy, move your body to somewhere worthy of all the attention you have.”
  • #41: Why I left Microsoft: Great description of the frightening void of not having a next step (elementary school, middle school, high school, college…).
  • #25: Advice for job-seekers in UI Design: Much of the advice applies outside of UI Design.

His books offer a totally different outlook on careers than the grad school->post-doc->professor paradigm, so I am looking forward to reading more tomorrow morning.

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